Guest Post:Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef Salad

Charlie’s blog Hotly Spiced is a fantastic blog, the perfect combination of hilarious stories and mouth watering recipes.  I’m absolutely honoured to have her guest post on my blog while I’m away.

Thanks so much Clare for having me to your special space.  I love your site and it’s an honour to blog a guest post for you.

The weather in Sydney has been so lovely lately and it’s not only been hot during the day, it’s been quite mild at night too.  In our family we’ve transitioned from eating a lot of comfort foods to eating a lot more fresh produce and salads have made their way back onto our dining room table.

A few years ago my family and I were on holidays on the Sunshine Coast.  During the holiday we celebrated our wedding anniversary and so Carl wanted to take me somewhere special for dinner.  We had no idea where to go but we spoke to a number of people and they all recommended a Thai restaurant out in the hinterland called, Spirit House.

After looking it up on the map, we weren’t too sure as it did seem to be out in the middle of nowhere but we took the advice that was given and drove to Yandina.

And we’re so glad we did.

Spirit House has become our all-time most favourite restaurant.  Started by Helen Brierty and Annette Fear who had spent a lot of time in Thailand and wanted to re-create something authentic here in Australia, this is the most incredible dining experience.  When you enter the Spirit House property you step into a green jungle sanctuary filled with palms, bamboo, and tropical exotics.  At dusk the restaurant turns into a magical wonderland with flickering candles, fairy lights and bamboo flares reflecting from the lake.

It is such a beautiful setting that is only surpassed by the incredible and magnificent cuisine.

I can’t remember what Carl and I ate that night except that it was all exceptional and on the way out, Carl bought me the Spirit House cookbook.  It’s a cookbook I have loved and adored.  It has taught me how to cook Thai food and if I’m ever in doubt, the chefs from Spirit House are only too happy to take my phone calls and give me assistance.

If you’re ever in the area, Spirit House also runs an incredibly successful cooking school where you can have that hands-on experience.

Here’s a salad that’s a family favourite from the Spirit House cookbook:

Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef Salad with Rice Vermicelli

Serves: 4
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost:  Thai ingredients generally aren’t expensive.  We find this to be an affordable family meal.


400g beef rump, thinly sliced
3 stalks lemon grass, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbspns fish sauce
1 tspn white sugar
ground white pepper, to taste
2 tbspns vegetable oil
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
1 tbspn crispy-fried shallots
1/2 cup Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce


2 cups finely shredded lettuce (cos or mignonette)
1/2 Lebanese cucumber, peeled and julienned
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 carrot, juienned
1/4 cup basil, shredded
1/4 cup mint or Vietnamese mint, shredded
200g rice vermicilli, cooked according to instructions on packet

To make the beef:  in a bowl, combine the beef, lemon grass, garlic, fish sauce, sugar and pepper.  Mix well, cover and set aside.

To make the salad:  combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Divide the noodles between individual serving plates then portion the salad into individual bowls.

To cook beef:  heat oil in wok until smoking, add onion and stir-fry briefly until layers start to separate.  Add beef slices and stir-fry until just cooked, about 5 minutes.  Spoon the beef over the salad, garnish with the peanuts and crispy shallots.  Serve with the dipping sauce and season to taste.

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce:

1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded
1 clove garlic
1 tspn sugar
1 tbspn rice vinegar
3 tbspn water
3 tbspn fish sauce
2 tspns shredded carrot
2 tspns shredded daikon

Pound the chilli and garlic to a fine past in mortar.  Blend in sugar, slowly stir in vinegar, water and fish sauce.  Transfer to serving bowl with carrot and radish shreds.

Are you a fan of Thai food?  What’s your favourite international cuisine?

40 thoughts on “Guest Post:Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef Salad

  1. Oh wow, that looks mouth-watering delicious! I’m a huge fan of thai food but haven’t’ made much of it myself. My one try at making pad-thai noodles was average at best. I would love to give this recipe a spin though. I’ve heard of everything except the sauce, so I will have to try & look for it next time I’m at the store 🙂

    1. Wow! I hope that weather holds out for us and we come home to some sun! Thanks so much for writing this for me, it really does look delicious!

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  3. What a delightful recipe Charlie and I live that they take your calls if you run into a snag! That’s the difference between an offbeat place and the big city!

    1. I know, Eva. They are so good about it. I’m heading to the Sunshine Coast after Christmas and we’re going back there! If you can ever find their cookbooks, do get yourself one. They even have some great tapas! xx

  4. It’s great to see you here, Charlie. That sounds like a great restaurant – there are not enough of them in my opinion.
    That dish is right up my alleyway. We ate such cheap, delicious food in Vietnam when we visited a few years back.

  5. Wow, each component of this recipe is amazing! From the beef to the salad to the dipping sauce. I love the mix of favors in the salad. Great recipe!

  6. Popping over from Charlie’s blog to say hello! What a yummy salad…I’m going to try it with my next roast beef leftovers. I love those Thai flavors!

  7. Lovely salad indeed! I have one of The Spirit House cookbooks and it is full of deliciousness. I’d love to eat there one day, or even better go to one of their classes. One day….

    1. Perhaps we could go to their classes together, Rebecca. I have all three of their cookbooks but I don’t cook from the white one very often – they went a bit OTT with that one and every recipe seems to have too many steps for a mid-week meal needed in a hurry xx

  8. Whata a joy to click onto the post: tho’ I lived on the Coast for years, have never heard of the Spirit House or a recipe book attendant: immediate homework ahead 🙂 ! Cook ‘Thai/Vietnamese’ 1-3 x a week and love their refreshing beef salads: so now to compare recipes 😀 !

    1. It’s sounds totally delicious doesn’t it! We eat a lot of Asian flavours but never a salad like this! I can’t wait to give it a go!

  9. Gosh, what a nice looking salad. That dipping sauce looks killer! Great flavors, easy to make – sounds like the perfect main course salad to me! Great guest post – thanks so much.

  10. What a tasty, beautiful dish! I love Thai foods and this is an wonderful salad that would impress anyone! Spirit House sounds like a great place…they should be glad to have your wonderful reviews, Charlie!

    1. Hey Debra, thanks for stopping by! The reviews are wonderful aren’t they! Now for me, I just need to get to Sydney

  11. Hello Clare, nice to meet you! I came here from Charlie’s, and what a delicious salad she prepared! This year I used lemongrass for the first time, and oh boy this ingredient is VERY addicting! I need to buy several stalks again to make this salad. YUM!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Nami! Isn’t the salad just fantastic! Lemon grass is just delicious! I use it often in a spiced pumpkin soup I make!

  12. What a fantastic recipe, Charlie! This salad looks like it’s the perfect dish for a romantic dinner between me and my wife. I find Thai cuisine is very special. It is certainly one of the best cuisines in the world. What a great Guest post.
    Thank you,-

    1. Frank, thanks so much for popping over to check out this amazing recipe! I think it’d be the perfect romantic evening meal! I can’t wait for our long hot summer evenings!

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